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Half of Filipinos think worst yet to come in PH coronavirus situation – SWS

Pia Ranada
Filipinos are split on the pandemic outlook for the Philippines – half say the worst is over, the other half say it's yet to come

PANDEMIC PROBLEMS. Larry Ungriano disinfects his jeepney in preparation for when traditional jeepneys will once again be allowed to ply Metro Manila roads. Photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos are divided on where the Philippines is in its COVID-19 situation, a Social Weather Stations mobile phone survey found.

While 47% think the “worst is yet to come,” 44% think the “worst is behind us,” showing a sharp contrast in views. The remaining 8% of survey respondents did not answer the question.

These were some of the findings of a mobile phone survey conducted by SWS from May 4 to 10, involving 4,010 working-age Filipinos from all over the country.

The percentage of people who think the Philippines has not yet reached its worst in the pandemic situation was highest in the Visayas, where a number of new coronavirus hot spots have been identified by the government. In that island, over half, or 54%, believe the worst is yet to come.

Next in highest percentage is Metro Manila with half of respondents believing the same. This was followed by Mindanao (48%) and Balance of Luzon (43%).

The fears of Visayas residents were realized around the time the survey was conducted when Cebu City was placed under the strictest quarantine measure, enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), from May 1 to 31, then again from June 1 to present.

Meanwhile, Balance of Luzon is home to the highest percentage of people with a relatively rosier outlook. In this region, 49% think “the worst is behind us.” It’s followed by Metro Manila, where 43% think the same way, then Mindanao (42%), and, lastly, the Visayas, where only 38% have the same view.

The percentage of those who said “the worst is behind us” were highest in Balance Luzon (49%), followed by Metro Manila (43%), Mindanao (42%), and the Visayas (38%).

Restrictions in Metro Manila eased up starting June 1, when it entered into general community quarantine (GCQ), which saw the reopening of a majority of business operations.

The more educated see a bleaker future

The survey found that the belief that the worst is yet to come for the country is more common among college graduates.

Over half, 53%, of college graduates who participated in the poll have this outlook. This is compared to 49% of junior high school graduates, 40% of elementary graduates, and 37% of non-elementary graduates.

This dovetails with another finding that those with a more positive outlook are those who didn’t finish elementary school. Among such respondents, more than half or 53% think “the worst is behind us.” This was followed by 51% of elementary graduates, 43% of junior high school graduates, and 38% of college graduates.

Unsurprisingly, almost half (49%) of the people who said their quality of life worsened in the past year expect worse days ahead.

A little over half (51%) of those who said their quality of life improved in the same time period are more positive, believing the worst is over.

The coronavirus situation in the Philippines has taken a turn for the worse since the SWS survey was conducted.

From a few hundreds of new cases a day during that time, new daily cases have soared past 1,000 on some days. Last Sunday, July 5, the country hit a new record with 2,434 cases added that day.

As of Tuesday, the country has almost 48,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.

The rise in daily reported numbers comes as most of the country is easing up on strict stay-at-home orders, with millions back to work and public transportation operational.

SWS reported sampling error margins of ±2% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, ±2 for Balance Luzon, ±3% Visayas, and ±3% in Mindanao. –

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at